The possibility exists. I know that. Possibility, whether good or bad, exists in all facets of our lives. It is possible to lose weight. It is possible to convince oneself to drink water instead of Pepsi. It is possible to find a husband, get a job. It is also possible that all of these things can be taken from you without a moment’s notice. How do you not dwell on the bad? I know the power of positive thinking, but when the bad thoughts creep in because the people who live in your mind seem unable to close to the door to thoughts clearly labeled as BAD BAD UNGOOD WE’RE HERE TO HURT YOU, what do you do? How do you turn it off? How do you not succumb? How do you not wind up in the fetal position in your car, rocking, chanting: unicorns, puppies, happiness, ice cream?
I am afraid a lot. I am afraid of things that are largely beyond my control. Guns. Murder. Car accidents. Random shit that doesn’t even seem like it can logically occur until you see it under a news heading of Weird Shit That No One Thinks Can Logically Occur. I can’t control whether the boy will lose his footing and fall down those last few stairs (unless I hold his hand which I’ve stopped doing because he’s so pressed to NO, I DO IT MYSELF, I CAN. There is just so much in the world that I sometimes feel like it’s all aimed right at me. The person driving too close behind me is trying to kill me. Now he’s beside me. He’s going to shoot me. I need to duck. And the next thing you know I’m running into the guard rail and the lead food non-shooter is sailing by. How do you control what’s going on in your mind that’s trying to drive you crazy but you know you aren’t crazy, at least not totally, not yet?
I wonder sometimes how crazy each of us is for getting onto the highway with drivers we don’t know. I think about how I ride Metro buses and trains and I don’t know these drivers; I don’t know what went on in their lives last night, this morning. I have no clue about the man who sits beside me. Is he having a bad morning? Does he have a weapon? Will the young girls in front of us fight the lone girl who isn’t even bothering them? Sometimes it’s all too much to think about: the possibilities.
There has been a voice following me the past few weeks. It’s told me to do some pretty stupid things. I haven’t listened. (I know it’s you, Shirley; you can’t fool me!) The voice has advocated my making rash decisions, told me to act before thinking, speak before considering, yell before chilling the fuck out and not giving my children yet another thing to mock me for (they do this, you know? They mock my yells, the facial expressions I make. Later, after all is settled down and they no longer fear I will bite into their jugular vein with my bare teeth and wrench their heads from their necks, then shake my head, their head still in my mouth, at their siblings to show the level of my power, THIS CAN BE YOU TOO IF YOU DON’T FINISH YOUR HOMEWORK. Wait, what were we talking about?)
Oh, the voice. Shirley. Shirley’s been telling me to do a lot of things that I know aren’t good for me. Shirley wants me to drink. I am not listening. Shirley wants me to stay in bed, use my fake cough when I call in to work. I am not listening (every day.) It is hard to tune her out. It is easier to give in to her demands, sleep the day away, watch Dr. Oz, stay in my pajamas. Shirley tells me I won’t get a new job; no one wants me. I’ve applied for so many and have received virtually no response. The day I decided to give in, give up, I received an email requesting a phone interview. I don’t want to jinx it, but I feel good about it. Funny how that happens. On the cusp of SCREW IT ALL, comes a light. I am walking toward the light. And although Shirley is screaming at me that light is bad for her, I can’t hear her anymore.
I can’t hear her.